Nightly News   |  November 30, 2011

Calif. school picks blackboards over iPads

Despite being in the heart of Silicon Valley, Waldorf School of the Peninsula students are not caught up in the gadget frenzy that has consumed so many other school children nationwide. Computers are not used in the elementary school and they are used sparingly at the high school level. NBC’s Rehema Ellis has more.

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>>> we're back with an education nation report tonight. as high technology becomes more and more a part of most school experiences in this country, we have a school that is rejecting technology completely to tell you about. you may be surprised by where it is and who the students are. our report from our education correspondent rehema ellis.

>> reporter: at this silicon valley elementary school , technology plays a pivotal role.

>> make sure you have your ipad with you.

>> reporter: just across the valley, in america's technology mecca, teachers say high tech and learning don't mix. at the waldorf school of the peninsula, learning is hands-on. blackboard, chalk, paint, shovels, but no computers. oddly enough the parents of most of the kids are bonified techies.

>> i try to play with my dad but he's mostly on the computer.

>> reporter: his dad is a google vice president. he's plugged in 24/7, but doesn't want that for his kids.

>> i think we are providing them with a great childhood not constrained by technology but where they can just be children.

>> reporter: the waldorf method is almost 100 years old. nationwide there are 30,000 students at 160 schools. here in silicon valley , a wol dor of education with a full garden experience comes at a hefty price. it costs more than $17,000 for kindergarten through 8th grade and $24,000 for each year of high school . in the upper grades, waldorf students do use computers but sparingly.

>> when it's appropriate, when it enhances learning then we'll use it.

>> being able to think creatively and imagination are much more important than just being able to know how to google something.

>> reporter: education experts say despite decades of computer use in school the benefits are hard to compute.

>> just introducing technology has not been shown to have magical effects on student learning.

>> reporter: waldorf points to a graduation rate of nearly 100% as proof that old-fashioned teaching still has value in modern education . rehema ellis, nbc news, los al tos, california.